A Motorcycle Miracle

An angel changed this rebellious teen’s life by saving it.

By Joan Wester Anderson


John was a teenager in the ‘70s, raised in a very religious family.  But he was more interested in hot cars and pretty girls. “My faith was very superficial,” he says, “consisting mostly of a strict adherence to the rules except when my parents weren’t looking.”

Shortly after getting his driver's license, John landed a well-paying job at a local grocery store chain.  Soon he talked his dad into letting him buy a motorcycle.  “Now, my independence was complete,” John explains.  “I earned my own money.  I was buying my own vehicle.  I felt like an adult.”  (And at six feet tall and 250 pounds, he certainly looked like one!) 

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So one day when John’s mother forbade him from visiting his girlfriend after school, he was immediately rebellious.  “I’m going, and nothing you can say or do will change my mind!” he shouted.  His mother, stunned, began to cry.  John had never defied her.  But now her son was storming out the back door.  “I’ll be home by ten!” he shouted over his shoulder.

After school, John went to his girlfriend's house in a nearby town about 30 minutes away.  The teens spent the evening together watching television. “I was so wrapped up in her that I paid no attention to the time,” John says. Finally at 9:45, he headed home.

But getting home normally took a half hour.  To shave time off his drive, John decided to take a shortcut across a highway closed for construction.  Veering around the yellow-and-black striped barricades, John sped up to about 70 miles per hour.  A few moments later, he lost control and the motorcycle began to flip.

“Time seemed to slow to a crawl,” John says.  “I hit the pavement, head first, and tumbled down the highway, head over heels.  I remember seeing the moon pass my knees!  And as I rolled to a stop, I remember the extreme silence of the night.”  Clothes torn, John was bleeding from head to toe and could barely move.  He was also in the middle of nowhere, on a detoured highway, with no hope of traffic coming by.  Would he die, he wondered hazily, before the road crews discovered him the next morning?

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“As I lay there drifting in and out of consciousness, I saw two very bright lights approaching,” John says.  “It was a car, and I knew I needed to stop it.”  Shakily, John stumbled to his feet, stood swaying in the middle of the road and waved his arms for a moment, then fell again onto the pavement. But the driver had apparently seen him, for the car slowed, then stopped. It was a recreational vehicle.

A man stepped out of the RV and quickly assessed the situation.  He lifted John’s huge motorcycle to the side of the road, then easily picked John up in his arms, and carried him to the back of his RV.  How did he have so much strength?  John couldn’t concentrate.  Everything seemed to be happening a million miles away.

He passed out until they reached his girlfriend’s house.  “Her surprised mother opened the door, and the man carried me inside and laid me down on their couch,” John says.  He faded again.

Later at the hospital, John and his mother heard an amazing story.  His girlfriend's mother explained that with hardly a word of explanation, the stranger had deposited John on their couch, and while the women were caring for John, he disappeared.

The incident was a turning point for John. He became far more serious about his behavior, his respect for his mother and especially his faith in God. Today, John is still a major skeptic when it comes to miracles, except for that night.  “I have thought about that accident over the years,” he admits, “and have found several things that I cannot explain:”

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For example, how did John escape a high speed crash with only minor cuts and abrasions?   Why was the stranger driving on a barricaded road? How could he be strong enough to move the motorcycle, and to easily carry John in his arms?  How did he know where John’s girlfriend lived?  How did he leave without the women noticing?

Joan’s new book, eighth in her angels/miracles series, is titled Angelic Tails: True Stories of Heavenly Canine Companions, published by Loyola Press.

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July 4, 2008 was a beautiful day-at least it started that way. I had been visiting a friend in Iowa and was on my way home through Wisconsin to Milwaukee, where I would catch the Lake Express ferry to Muskegon, Michigan, about an hour from my home. I was used to getting up early for work, so I went to bed early the night before and seemed to be well-rested when I set off for home. I thanked my host for a wonderful visit and headed out. It took about two hours to reach the Mississippi River where I crossed into Wisconsin. By that time, the sun was rising and the roadside scenery was beautiful, especially with the sun's rays reflecting off the rocks. Suddenly, I could not stay awake. I remember thinking I needed to find a place to pull off the road. I felt the right front tire of my SUV go off the pavement onto the shoulder and over-corrected my steering-jerking the wheel all the way to the left. I was on a four lane divided highway and had my cruise control set at 65 mph. The overcorrection caused me to go into the median and roll five times. I don't remember anything about the accident. When I came to, I was being loaded into an ambulance and a cop wanted to ask me some questions. He asked me if I knew where I was and I said, "No". When the officer told me I was in Wisconsin, I replied, "How did I get to Wisconsin? I live in Michigan!". The next thing I remember was a lot of pain in my chest and someone was carving a hole on my left side. THAT HURT! Someone told me to take it easy; that they were putting a chest tube in me because my lung had collapsed. So I toughed out the pain for a few more minutes while the doctor finished and then they gave me something that put me back to sleep. The next day, my brother and his wife stopped in to see me. I was told I totaled my SUV by rolling it five times. Besides the punctured lung, I had broken five ribs and my sternum, my back was completely bruised and I had a contusion on my leg below the knee. I was wearing my seatbelt, but I was told I should not have survived the accident. I know I had an angel riding with me that morning. A week later, I was released to go home, and after a phone call to my brother, he returned to Madison to bring me home. My niece and her kids moved in with me to help me recover from my injuries, and I enjoyed the company. I thought I was healing when one night I started having a problem breathing, so my niece took me to the emergency room, where they determined I had developed a 2.5 centimeter clot in my healing lung. So there went another week in the hospital with another chest tube inserted into my lung with a clot-busting drug given three times a day. Four weeks later, after some tests, it was determined that I had sleep apnea and that what had caused the accident. While healing, I felt a strong push to get back to church. I had not been active in church for over ten years and I was nervous, but I did start attending a church fairly close to home. To my surprise, many of the members of the church were old high school classmates, so I felt right at home. When the pastor asked me if I would like to join the church, I said yes and now I try to be as active as I can. Sometimes, it takes a knock to the head to realize the Lord wants everyone to know and love Him. That accident was my wake-up call...and that angel is still with me today.

Love this story, Joan. I so believe John encountered an angel. If we put out a soul-cry... consciously or unconsciously, the angels hear us and respond. They are here for us to help us find our way back home through our hearts. Sometimes we need to be hit over the head with a 2 x 4.
Bless you for sharing this story.